Experiences from Model-Based GUI testing of Smartphone Applications

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1 Experiences from Model-Based GUI testing of Smartphone Applications Mika Katara Department of Software Systems Tampere University of Technology, Finland Special thanks to the former TEMA team at Tampere University of Technology: Henri Heiskanen, Antti Jääskeläinen, Mika Maunumaa, Mika Mäenpää, Antti Nieminen, Tuomas Pajunen, Tommi Takala, and Heikki Virtanen

2 What are We Looking For? 2 Bugs that affect smartphone users, i.e. almost everybody

3 How? 3 On-line model based testing using models describing what the user can do with the GUI and how the apps interact

4 4 Obstacles and Opportunities for MBT Practitioners are willing to try out new tools that might help them Wide variety of open-source testing tools already used (agile unit testing, continuous integration, etc.) Practitioners are not willing to invest heavily on modeling or specification in general When quality is not a prime consideration, conventional testing methods seem to work reasonably well There are areas that are very hard to test using conventional methods (static and linear test cases) Many applications running concurrently and sharing resources may suggest concurrency problems Protecting the brand: End users who experience application hangup/crashing problems etc. may post their bad experiences to the Internet

5 TEMA Toolset Hiding Innate MBT Complexity 5 Since testers don t want to directly deal with models or test generation algorithms, we have abstracted the algorithms out in our web GUI TEMA web GUI is testers interface with the test server, used for designing and managing test configurations, running and tracking actual tests, and managing test model packages This all boils down to allowing testers to just choose what they want to test and what physical device they want to run their tests on Organizational impact: Need for test design has diminished, only test configurations (that may involve use cases) have to be created Modeling is imperative High-level models can be reused, but domain-specific refinements must be created case by case for each domain

6 TEMA Tool Architecture Test Modeling Model Utilities *** Test Generation Action Machines Localization Tables Model Designer Refinement Machines Model Library Data Tables Test Modeler Test Design WWW GUI Test Designer Chief Tester Debug Tools Test Debugger Test Debugging Video Recorder Test Engineer Configured Model Test Configurer Test Configuration Test Execution Script Test Run Footage Test Model Model Composer Test Controller Test Log Tool Artifact Test Engine Diagram symbols Control Data Uses Keyword Execution Adapter *** TESTBEDS 2011, Mika Katara Connectivity Component SUT 1 SUT N 21/03/2011

7 7 Test Suite Maintenance A major problem with conventional test automation, especially in the GUI context, is the maintenance of the test suites In the worst case, you have to modify each test in your suite whenever something changes in the SUT (System Under Test) Using models, test suites are generated automatically, and you only have to change your model Or few of the component models

8 8 Keywords and Action Words Action words describe the user s actions at a high level of abstraction Send an SMS, answer a call, add a new contact etc. Used in high-level models (action machines) An action word is translated to a sequence of keywords (keystrokes) for menu navigation, text inputting etc. Some action words can have multiple keyword sequences implementing them Keywords are used in low-level models (refinement machines)

9 9 To achieve a good separation of concerns, we use action words and keywords in separate models at different levels of abstraction Action machines containing action words are composed with refinement machines containing key words The resulting composite model is input to the tools executing the model i.e., generating the test cases To avoid state space explosion, this has been implemented using an on-the-fly algorithm

10 Example Test Models 10 S60 Camera application, action machine Illustration: Antti Kervinen/TUT

11 11 S60 Camera application, refinement machine Illustration: Antti Kervinen/TUT

12 12 Debugging Long Error Traces Debugging is a major practical problem This is emphasized in online MBT, since error traces can be very long Solutions: 1) Test Run Video Synchronization with Log Data 2) Trace Incrementation Based on the concept of gradually executing a failed test run in subsets

13 13 Domains Conquered We have been primarily focusing on mobile GUI testing, but our approach is also suited to other domains Our model library presently holds models for the following domains: S60 Over 100 action machines, almost 1000 action words Estimated number of states if we would compose all the models in parallel: at least 10^19 states Mobile Linux Android Java Swing Action machines (high-level models) have been reused for different domains

14 14 Conclusions Modeling typically uncovers more bugs and quirks than test execution itself Reverse-engineering vs. use of system models Lack of precise enough GUI specifications Agile trend hasn t made matters easier. It is possible to find bugs in already well-tested applications Mostly minor or cosmetic, but also serious (system errors, etc.) A talented student was able to create the first version of the S60 model library in 2 months (+1 month for debugging & maintenance) Automatic GUI testing requires mature test automation support from the domain

15 Case: S60 (Project Starting Point) 15 Built-in applications in S60 smartphones, such as Gallery, Music Player, Flash Player, Notes, Voice Recorder, Contacts and Messaging Keyword execution using proprietary and commercial test automation tools Optical character recognition was used for verifications, which caused some reliability and maintenance issues 21 defects of different severities and priorities were found Some of these defects existed in more than one smartphone model The most severe of the defects caused the phone to hang with System error message on the display About two thirds of the defects were discovered while modeling (reverse engineering), and the remaining third by execution (dynamic testing) Most of the defects had already been previously found in traditional testing (both manual and automatic test execution), but they had not been fixed for some reason However, there were also some that were totally new Many of the defects were related to concurrency issues: performing some multimedia-related functionality in one application and then switching to another application caused unexpected behavior in some circumstances In addition to defects found in applications, some were found in test automation tools, which was considered rather surprising, as these tools were quite mature Experiences from Model-Based GUI testing of Smartphone Applications, Mika Katara 20/10/2011

16 16 Case: Mobile Linux Media player application by Ixonos New modeling challenge: real-time requirements Playing videos, fast-forwarding, rewinding, pausing Although it was difficult, real-time support was eventually accomplished at model level Keyword execution using Linux accessibility features API access to GUI components Easier and more reliable than in S60 case Some minor bugs were found (both during modeling and execution) Experiences from Model-Based GUI testing of Smartphone Applications, Mika Katara 20/10/2011

17 17 Case: Android Phone Messaging, Contacts and Calendar applications Action machines created for S60 were reused Calendar was modeled with ATS4 AppModel and converted to TEMA models with an automatic converter Keyword execution was based on A-Tool by Symbio Optical character recognition was implemented with MS Office Imaging, which could have been more reliable Some bugs were found (both during modeling and execution) Experiences from Model-Based GUI testing of Smartphone Applications, Mika Katara 20/10/2011

18 18 Case: Android Revisited BBC News application RSS reader optimized for BBC news feeds Self-made test automation for the emulator Based on API access -> improved reliability Modeling the BBC News (16 state machines) took a few days time With usability improvements in the modeling tool this could be made even faster During the case, the application was updated thrice and the platform once ( ) Maintaining the models was fast no need to update a huge set of test cases Experiences from Model-Based GUI testing of Smartphone Applications, Mika Katara 20/10/2011

19 19 Random mode was used in the test generation Setting up the test run takes practically no time at all 240 separate test runs lasting over 115 hours in total action words keywords The longest run lasted over three hours Average duration was 30 minutes Emulator lost Internet connection in every couple of hours

20 20 Bugs Found 14 bugs found in total 8 during modeling 6 in random test execution from the model Two of the bugs caused the application to crash Even quite small inconsistencies were found easily missed by a manual tester

21 21 Keyword Execution with a Robot Solution for the automated testing of touch display devices Simulates real human user interaction with SUT The applications are tested in actual devices Different sets of robot fingers for device actuation Visual verification of the results with a camera and OCV (Optical Character Verification) Easy integration with TEMA Toolset For more information, visit

22 Thank You! 22 Acknowledgements for financiers: Tekes, Nokia, Ixonos, Symbio, Cybercom Plenware, F-Secure, Qentinel, Prove Expertise, Academy of Finland (grant #121012)

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